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An Artist's Notebook

Saturday June 19, 2004
Camera #20
So I sat on my little Nokia phone the other day and broke it. Today I went up to Norwich and popped inot Vodaphone with whom I have a longstanding contract and asked if they would upgrade my phone. The lad said I could have the same as the one I had just broken for free or I could have another one or.. I could have this one with a colour screen and a little camera in it. Well, it would be rude not to wouldn't it, I said, a free upgrade like that. I was amazed. The fiddling about with contracts took a while and really I just wanted to run off with it before they changed their mind. The cable was £30 which I thought was a bit much and I am sure I can find a cheaper one on the net. But apart from that it's a brilliant little piece of technology. I generally have a camera nearby anyway but from now every time I take my phone with me which is always I will have a camera in my pocket. Really quite an amazing idea. For all these years everyone has looked at me funny for always have a camera with me and generally being a camera nut but over the past year or so evryone has supposed to want to have a camera with them which has struck me as a bit odd really. From eccentric habit to David Beckham's pocket. For me it's great though. Stay tuned.

Wednesday 14th April 2004
Photo A Week Update
Perhaps it has all been superseded by blogging. I checked out a couple of photoblogs and they seemed to be basically Photo A Week s really. So I have fiddled with the webpages for a more bloggy sort of look and copied the blog over to this page. Particularly like the photoblog by Martin Taylor especially as he has some notes on old cameras such as my Canonet 28. He seems to have the same collecting strategies as myself. Cheap but interesting.

Sunday 11th April 2004
Why Photo A Week?
I was poking about on the Internet a rainy Saturday afternoon a few weeks ago looking for some information about a camera I was interested in buying on ebay. I was looking for stuff about old Canon rangefinders, Canonets.
I found a link to pages by the leicaslacker, Kyle Cassidy, and I spent an hour or so looking at his gallery of images, his interesting and unusual views on photography and his rather fine set of pictures in a photo a week series.

These date back to January 1999 and run through to today. The first set are very interesting. Documenting life in Philadelphia; bands, friends, political conventions. They take a darker turn with a sequence, quite disturbing, of a young girl Kyle befriends who appears to be self harming. These photos catch the atmosphere and the sequencing leads you through, diary style.
He does make the point that it is more than possible to have an excessive number of cameras but not to take a sufficiency of photographs. I take a lot of photos but still, probably, possibly, do have too many cameras. I intend to count them this Easter.
There are probably photo weblogs aplenty that do this I'm sure but this is the one that made an impression on me for the photographic quality and the discipline.
So I decided to have a go. There is a page on leicaslacker of others doing a Photo A Week (or PAW) but most of the links don't work. Has all this been superseded by blogs? I don't know.
Whether I can maintain a discipline of a picture every week I don't know and I am unlikely to get a photo on here in the week I took it due to the developing and printing time. Unless I go digital entirely and then what will I do with this Canonet?

Friday, January 02, 2004
Sorting Cassettes
So I decided tos tart the New Year off properly by sorting something out and throwing something away. The cassette collection. when did I last play a cassette? Who does play cassettes? What is the use of them now? So i scatter them across the kitchen table out of their shoe boxes and other containers and start to fiddle about with them. It doesn't take long to realise that I can't throw any of them away. They tell a story after all. There's Stuart's handwriting on that Magazine tape. Here is Ben's. That one was made for me by a chap at art college and it was my introduction to Philip Glass and John Cale. How can I throw that away? So they all go back into their shoe boxes, a few get played on the kitchen machine and they go back in the front room.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003
Wooden Camera Works

After much fettling the wooden camera is now a functioning object. I have taken a number of pictures with it over the weekend, mainly very long indoor exposures. The weather and light has gone completely so an outdoor exposure is now an hour or so onto Ilford VC paper and indoors I have been leaving the shutter open all evening and into the morning to put a bit of light into the windows. The artifical lights that are on in the evening fill out most of the room view. I like the idea of twelve hour exposures, the reaction happening that slowly on the paper.

Monday, October 27, 2003
Wooden Camera Disaster

I was close to putting the first piece of paper in the new wooden camera but made a rather hamfisted attempt to put the tripod bush on which has damaged it so I have to have another go at it.
Found these rather beautiful photographs on the web by Thomas Hudson Reeve. The photo paper itself makes the box of the camera which makes the image.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003
Continuing adventures with a pinhole camera etc
The new mdf camera is coming along and should soon be commissioned. My somewhat inadequate wood working skills have slowed things down at times. A few details need to be sorted out tomorrow and a new pinhole made and it should be ready.
The old cardboard one has been taken apart and repainted and fettled over the weekend and this has produced a better, more even image. I realise that it is possibly a bit too wide angle and it should have had a slightly longer focal length to get coverage over the image.
I will scan and post some more images ove rthe next few days. Also a suite of Barnett Newman 'inspired' prints made as demos of colour printing made at school along side Y8. And a little lino cut based on some mask images.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003
Rain Stops Play
No pinhole photgraph today due to rain and no light. Also the cameras shutter was accidently opened all night so I may have an image of the hallway through the gloom or I may not. A couple of images from the camera and some notes about the camera and a photo of it, poor thing, are on the main website.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Longer exposure
Tried a longer exposure, over five minutes, which has produced a negative with more detail to the edges so maybe I haven't been giving them long enough exposures so far. Put a brick on top this time so the camera didn't blow away.

Monday, October 06, 2003
Another day another pinhole photograph

Made another fine pinhole photograph outside the art room door. Tried a longer exposure which was going well until the wind blew the camera over. The neg is OK. The image of Aldburgh from yesterday is a nice one.

Sunday, October 05, 2003
A Rum Weekend
Not one of the great artistic weekends of my life. I realise that this blog may break with the apparent trend for artist's websites to be all CVs and puffs about how marvellous they are blah blah. This one looks like the reverse.
Saturday a meeting about a local arts venue which may be fantastic or may just not be at all, depends. I really want to like it but it just looks like an empty shell waiting for something, hoping for something perhaps; a cargo cult object- build this and the aeroplanes of culture will come.
Then to a secret art sale. I arrived three minutes late and it was all but over. I achieved the distinction of having my piece left unsold. I was part of a very select group.
Today and yesterday I have been playing with my pinhole camera. I made it on Friday, painted it and took pictures with it on Saturday which came out OK. Needs some refining but interesting. Modified it this morning and made some more images today. Made a nice one of the coast guard tower in Aldeburgh this afternoon having been to see Richard's pictures at the Cinema Gallery.
Looked through some old pictures, drawings and prints today too. Some not too bad actually. Certainly a lot of them.
So I took the knock back really seriously then. Straight home and into the darkroom to make some prints. In the drama about Byron this week on the BBC 'Shelley' asked 'Byron' "Why do you write?" and Byron drawled "Well, it's more a question of trying to stop it."